Even when you feel you are doing a good thing by buying green now, it is almost inevitable that you will behave immorally later on.
A new study found that buying products that claim to be made with low environmental impact could set up "moral credentials" in people's minds that give license to selfish or questionable behaviour.
"This was not done to point the finger at consumers who buy green products. The message is bigger. At the end of the day, if we do one moral thing, IT doesn't necessarily mean we will be morally better in other things as well," said Nina Mazar, a marketing professor at University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management.
The second experiment showed that participants merely exposed to products from a green store shared more money in a subsequent experimental game, but those who actually made purchases in that store shared less.
The final experiment revealed that participants who bought items in the green store showed evidence of lying and stealing money in a subsequent lab game.
The study has been published in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science.